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While he was in Paris, Rufino Tamayo received a second invitation to take part in the Mexican Biennial that was being organized by the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes (INBA).This time, in an attempt to persuade him, Miguel Salas Anzures told him that he would be among the honored participants. Tamayo had originally said that he was unable to participate because he had no available paintings; this time, however, he realized that he would have to tell the truth. Tamayo explained that his decision was based on the fact that a clique was promoting the event; according to him, Mexico was a country “ruled by cronyism, where there is still an absence of democracy.” The painter insisted that he did not belong to any group, least of all to the one that dominated the politics of painting, which meant that he had no hope of success in a contest of the kind that was being organized. Tamayo also mentioned that he was not in the least bit enjoyed for being honored in a tribute among the dead.


During the 1950s, Rufino Tamayo (1899-1991) had been the object of considerable criticism. It is entirely likely that his decision was a reaction against the control wielded by David Alfaro Siqueiros (1896-1974) and his group over the Biennial. On this occasion, Tamayo was not the only one who balked; the list included the collector Alvar Carrillo Gil and many painters such as Alberto Gironella (1929-99) and the others who had taken part in the exhibition at the Galería Proteo. There were, in fact, a number of contradictions which the INBA tried to manipulate to their advantage; for example, the fact that no foreigners were invited, and the claim that the Mexicans who had not taken part had done so on their own initiative.  

See the article published in Últimas Noticias on June 6: "Solamente extranjeros en la Bienal Bis. Bellas Artes habla sobre el grupo de los descontentitos" [Only foreigners at the ‘parallel’ Biennial. INBA discusses the group of unhappy campers]. To counter the contradictions, on June 8 the INBA announced another national print and painting contest to be held at the same time as the Biennial, and invited Mexicans and foreigners to participate. Also see "INBA. Primera Bienal Interamericana de Pintura y Grabado convoca a Gran Exposición Nacional de pintura y grabado" [INBAFirst Inter-American Biennial of Paintings and Prints issues invitation to a Grand National Exhibition of painting and prints]; "México en la cultura;" supplement of Novedades, June 8, 1958. 

Ana María Torres : CEPE, U.N.A.M. / CURARE A. C.
CURARE, Espacio crítico para las artes, Mexico City, Mexico
© Tamayo Heirs/México/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY
Biblioteca Miguel Lerdo de Tejada de la Secretaría de Hacienda y Crédito Público